Progress

19 01 2009

So! Where were we? Alright, alright, I’ve been a bit of a dead-beat dad to this site, but I’m going to blame technology for this one. I still don’t have a camera which is annoying me to no end, and taking pictures with my phone just isn’t cutting it for me. BUT! I made a cake! Stupidly, I only remembered to take a picture of it once i had put it in the box, but it’s coming soon I promise. Also, I have finally written down the recipes for a few other things that I made before my gadgets crapped out on me which I will be posting soon as well. So all is not lost after all. Hopefully I’ll be getting around to all of this this week, but for now I suggest you go and download some Yeah Yeah Yeahs and have a mini rock-out with me.

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Pulse Stable, Patient Is Breathing

5 12 2008

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Tis the season to be busy, it seems. With a million things to do just to make sure that one stays alive and kicking with zero down time, what is a gal to do? In case you’re wondering, this is a short list of things that have happened since I last posted:

-Took my sick cat to the vet. Pancreatitis. $400.
-Cleaned apartment(and washed my sheets about 5 times) this week because Princess Shittybottoms and her disease have taken over my home.
-Handed out about 15 resumes around town and swallowed my very salty pride as I also applied at *chain* restaurants. I feel unclean.
-Finished my Christmas shopping and about half of my Christmas creating(ie: for those of you not on my expensive list)
-Wrote four new recipes that I’m DYING to try out. Oh the foot-tapping going on right now in anticipation of Christmas feasting, I tells ya!
-Finally, finally wrapped up my last lab before exam week starts. I can not WAIT until next semester. Chocolate shall bow to me, oh yes.

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So I can’t possibly be held responsible for the lack of posting and picture-taking, can I? Really now. In addition to the list, here are a few things I’ve done in class that I’m only just now pulling off of my phone, and a few from some outings dating back as far as August, I believe.

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Let it be known that I have an active hatred for the above mocha cake. Nothing to do with it’s difficulty but rather it’s ease and plainness.

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Lemon meringue pie, circa September 2008. *yawn*

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Ugly Yule log. May I just state, for the record, that I was FORCED into using those hideous meringue mushrooms, FORCED into making it shaped as such, and DENIED a cute little enchanted forest fairy and was instead pacified with the option of a butterfly. Which I mangled. Not my best work by any stretch. Que sera, sera.

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We were asked to make a large occasion cake for the school’s athletic association and so our chef told us to each make a piece of sporting equipment. My sense of humor being what it is, I made a jock strap. It was immediately repurposed into a football helmet after I got The Look. Some folks are just so uptight, amirite?

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This is the famous finger injury I incurred while making that wedding cake a few months ago. Le ouch!

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From one of my patio adventures with the wonderful Mister Josh, in a place where cheese sticks are called Cheese Rockets and onion rings are called Glory Hoops. *Ahem*

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And yesterday’s chocolate-on-chocolate busy work. I actually love doing this because she allows us complete decorative control.

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Theory class has never looked so dapper! Mmmyes, quite.

Not much else to report yet; there will be a post about chili in the near future and I bring you promises of Christmas candies aplenty. Other than that, have a happy Friday and try not to get eaten by bears.

Current earmeats: “In Da Ayer” by Flo-Rida. I have never been so ashamed of liking a song as much in my entire life but it’s so catchy, dagnabbit!





Why Yes, I Am Alive.

3 11 2008

We appreciate your concern. I’ve pretty much been out of town for the last two weeks so it goes without saying that I’m a little lacking in the food-making department. In lieu of actually making anything at home, I’m going to throw out some pictures of what I’ve been doing in class over the last two weeks because it’s pretty much all I’ve done.

So there. I’ve baked. I came, I saw, I decorated.

I’ll be finally getting around to cleaning my kitchen this week (rejoice!) so I’ll soon have fun and exciting things to report on. I’m planning a few things that I can’t wait to try out and when I do, you will all be the firsts to hear about it. Promise.

Currently listening to: 36 Crazy Fists. Research this pronto; your hardcore soul depends upon it.

Also: planning new apartment decor but need funds for said. Going to scour antique stores in Toronto for more medical antiques and militaria. If anyone knows where I can find an early 1900s leather and metal prosthetic arm, hook a sista up. WANT.





Banana Caramel Sauce

29 09 2008

It occurs to me that if I am to remain sans internet, I will spend every week apologizing to you all from my connection at school. This shall not stand! As of sometime this week(fingers crossed), I will officially become a slave to Big Internet, suck it up and buy some. As I live and breathe, my mission in life was to get by without having to pay for it, be it by loitering in coffee shops, at school, or wherever there was a “Free WiFi” sign, but no more. I heave a sigh of defeat.

On a sweeter note, I am pleased to present you with a recipe for banana caramel sauce. I made this at my father’s on the same weekend in which I made the butter tarts of yore, but this recipe got swept aside in lieu of the wedding cake post. Here I go apologizing again. Without further preamble, do let’s begin.

Banana Caramel Sauce
Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup cream
1 banana, sliced

Melt sugar in a saucepan over medium heat with one tablespoon of water. Brush down sides of pot as needed with water. When sugar is a light amber color, stir in butter. Once incorporated, stir in cream off of the heat. Mixture will bubble up a bit, but be not afraid, this is normal. When you have a beautiful, creamy caramel sauce, stir in bananas until sauce coats them. Serve over ice cream, cake, whatever.

In other news: math class continues to be a patronizing waste of 3000$. Awesome.

Currently feasting my ears on: Every Time I Die in one ear and my math teacher in the other, though my heart really isn’t concerned with the latter.





Who’s Afraid of the Big White Cake?

15 09 2008

Not me. Oh no, not I. The wedding cake is finished, folks. Done. Over. Gone. 50 lbs of batter, 30 lbs of icing, 20 lbs of marshmallow fondant, and a 20kg bag of icing sugar that I’m sure will last me the rest of my life all went into the construction of this most glorious of cakes. I’m so high on my own sense of accomplishment right now, you have no idea. If you see me walking around for the next week with dazed eyes and a silly little grin on my face, I assure you it’s not love, it’s my ego.

This is my big bowl of batter. It’s a double recipe, and it fills one, I repeat, ONE 16″ base layer cake pan. One. Singular. You have no idea how many times I had to make this recipe in one day. Not having an industrial-sized kitchen is really starting to take it’s toll on me. My oven does not support the baking of two pans at the same time, so I had to do these individually, each layer, washing the pans in between, as well as mixing the bowls of batter PER PAN, washing in between, and so on. I did every layer on one Saturday and boy howdy was I ever one sore kitten. My 20-year-old hand mixer decided to finally mutiny on me, so I had to mix the entire(ENTIRE) cake by hand. Let me just say that one more time for the people in the back row: I mixed a four-tier, two layer wedding cake completely BY HAND. That’s right.

I am so thankful that that particular Saturday was cold outside. After running my oven all day at 350 degrees without reprise, if it had been a summer wedding, I might have had to charge them an extra 50 bucks just for having to suffer in the heat. But it wasn’t, so it’s all good.

Have you ever had your entire freezer occupied with eight layers worth of cake? Let me just say, it’s both awesome and horrible. Awesome in that how many times in your life are you allowed to pack your entire freezer with dessert?; and horrible because unless you have a second freezer, have fun storing the rest of your food for a week. As someone who often cooks a big stew pot worth of chili or bolognese sauce or curry and then freezes it to eat throughout the week, this was a particular pain in my proverbial ass. I am admittedly lazy, and having to make something fresh every day in a chaotic kitchen was just far more than I was able to handle. Let me just say that I ate a lot of cereal.

I’m sorry but I am missing a lot of pictures from the making of this cake. I really wanted to document the whole thing and was even toying with the idea of a little animation, but the week that I needed to start the cake I started pastry school. Waking up at 6am every day and being on your feet until ten at night doesn’t really make you want to do any more work than is absolutely necessary. What you’re missing is a huge bowl full of vanilla buttercream icing, three 7lb bricks of marshmallow fondant, four tiers of iced, stacked and fondant covered vanilla cake, and a whole countertop’s worth of black and pink decorations. It all came together as such:

Now, I’ve got to admit that the whole procedure up until the actual day of the wedding was relatively stress-free for me. I had zero freakouts, not once did I question whether or not I was ready for such an endeavor, and never even broke down crying even once. Which is a lot more than I can say about some of the smaller, less important cakes I’ve made. On the day of the wedding, I woke up early. I had to roll out the black dots so they could be glued on at the wedding and I’m really glad I gave myself the extra time because I ran out of black fondant and had to tint a new batch. I’m so happy that I chose not to sleep in that extra hour. I was a little late getting to the hotel, spent 15 minutes fighting with a vending machine, and then ran downstairs to finish the cake. I had to glue on the base ribbons, polka dots and pink bows at the venue, as well as dowel and stack the thing. I seriously finished gluing on the last bow just as people were entering for the wedding, and had about four minutes to clean up the bar I was working on, change into my fancy-girl clothes, and rush into the wedding about two minutes before the ceremony started. Who’s a rock star? Hmm?

I really had a whole different post in mind when I was envisioning writing this a week ago. I was going to give helpful hints to anyone who’s undertaking something like this for the first time, give out recipes and scaling help, and a fondant tutorial, but honestly, I’m taking a break for now. This week has been so crazy for me, my kitchen is still in shambles, and I’m writing this at school because it’s the only place I can get an internet connection at the moment. Please don’t ask too much of me. Though I assure you that this isn’t going to me my last wedding cake, and I have a few people that I need to bake present cakes for in the near future, so I’ll reserve my help for those posts. For the moment, I’m just going to take this week to sit back, relax, focus on school, and keep gawking at the picture of my very first wedding cake while saying to myself, “I did that. Wow. I can do anything!”

Currently listening to: Bad Religion

Also: if anyone feels like being my new best friend and wants to come over and clean my kitchen, I’d love you forever. I can pay you in appreciation.





A Consolation Prize

6 07 2008

I haven’t made anything exciting for a while.  Sorry, but it’s true. Though all hope is not lost! I’m going to try and buy your love with some pictures of a cake I made for my mom’s birthday last month. Enjoy!

Flowers made with gumpaste and gumption, ribbon made in China.

I promise to make at least one exciting thing to share with you all before this Friday, when I go on vacation for a week. I shall then regale you with restaurant reviews and things of that nature upon my return. Huzzah!





My Zen Jiggles, Does Yours?

14 06 2008

There’s just something about panna cotta that I can’t say no to. Especially in the summer. Even more so if it is tea-infused. I came up with this recipe a while ago and haven’t made it since then, but I’m beginning to think that it’s time. A delicate blend of Asian-inspired flavors, this one is just something that you have to experience for yourself. Honestly it’s the most relaxing dessert I have ever eaten. The perfect ending to a light summer lunch, the exact opposite of the Chinese takeaway that I myself had. I can never refuse the spicy shrimp, it’s my weakness.

Jasmine Green Tea Panna Cotta

30 g gelatin powder
450 ml buttermilk
450 ml 35% cream
450 ml whole milk
230 ml clover honey
35 g loose jasmine green tea

Soften gelatin in a small amount of water.
Place buttermilk, cream, milk and honey into a medium saucepan.
Put tea into a tea ball or tie into a cheesecloth sachet and place into pot.

Bring cream to a simmer, whisking occasionally. When tea flavor has been infused sufficiently, remove tea ball.Stir in gelatin.
Chill mixture before molding, until it’s fridge temperature. Give it a good stir to make sure that any gelatin that may have settled at the bottom becomes reincorporated.
As you might tell from the photo above, if you forget this step, the gelatin settles at the bottom of the mold, and is not nearly as attractive.
Pour into greased molds and chill for 4 hours.

Lemongrass-honey sauce

125 ml white wine
80 ml water
250 ml clover honey
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and chopped into thirds.
100 g anjou pear parisienne. (about 2 pears)

Gently beat lemongrass pieces with the back of your knife to release the flavours.
Place lemongrass, wine, water and honey in a small saucepan and simmer.
Remove lemongrass once flavors have been imparted.
Poach pears in the syrup, remove pears.
Reduce syrup by 1/2.

Fried crepes

5 cooked crepes
confectioner’s sugar

Cut crepes into strips and deep fry until golden, turning if needed.
Dust with powdered sugar.

In other news: there was a cheese omlette, spicy shrimp and noodles, and a possible slurpee in my future. I promise to be more entertaining come Monday, when I audition an idea for Jack and Coke ribs. Fingers crossed that it plays out as well in reality as it does in my mind. I will need a lot of CCR for this. Wish me luck!